Ever since smartphones were introduced in 2007, they have become an essential part of society, culture, and everyday life. People around the world have become dependent on smartphones for many reasons including increased productivity, entertainment, and connecting with others. They can be very helpful in these senses, but as seen in the article, the negative consequences outweigh the positive consequences. I agree with the findings in the article, “Problematic smartphone use: A conceptual overview and systematic review of relations with anxiety and depression psychopathology” and do see clearly that the excessive use of smartphones leads to anxiety and depression among many other negative consequences.
The first fact that was introduced in the primary article, showing the negative effects of smartphone use, explains how they lead to interference with people’s daily lives. One example was about how the constant use of smartphones leads to distracted driving. It can be very easy and common for a person to look at their phone as soon as it lights up or makes a notification sound. This split second of looking at a phone while driving could be a life or death situation. The article states, “Smartphones can distract drivers (especially young adults) who talk or text on the phone while driving, potentially leading to traffic accidents” (1). Distracted driving is a scary and major cause of death and traffic accidents. When people are obsessed with their smartphones, they may not be able to not pick the phone up even when they know it is wrong or illegal.
In an article found on Psychalive.org, it states that the overuse of cellphones is categorized as an addiction. A very thorough and conceptual idea of this addiction was explained by Dr. Susan Weinschenk. She explains, “With the internet, twitter, and texting you now have almost instant gratification of your desire to seek. Want to talk to someone right away’send a text and they respond in a few seconds. Want to look up some information? Just type your request into google… It’s easy to get in a dopamine induced loop. Dopamine starts you seeking, then you get rewarded for the seeking which makes you seek more. It becomes harder and harder to stop looking at email, stop texting, or stop checking your cell phone to see if you have a message or a new text” (2). These facts explain why it is so easy for people to overuse these devices. They satisfy an innate need for instant gratification and feelings of importance in one’s life.
Another downside related to smartphones is the health concerns that are associated with their prolonged use. The posture of being hunched over and looking down while using a phone for extended periods of time can lead to terrible posture all the time along with shoulder, back, and neck pain. An article found on clevelandclinic.org talks about the dangers of what they call “text neck”. Text neck is caused by a “repetitive strain injury that’s becoming more common as more people hunch over smartphones. Aggravating muscle pain in the neck and shoulders, and sometimes lower back, is occurring even in teens and adolescents” (3).
Dr. Bolash explains in the article the reason for the increased pain in the neck from smartphone uses. He states, “Neck muscles, in their proper position, are designed to support the weight of your head, about 10 to 12 pounds. Research shows that for every inch you drop your head forward, you double the load on those muscles. Looking down at your smartphone, with your chin to your chest, can put about 60 pounds of force on your neck” (3). In addition to back, shoulder, and neck pain, the use of smartphones in a repetitive manner can lead to “hand dysfunction” (1). Constantly typing on a very small screen can furthermore lead to finger cramps and finger twitching.
Smartphone usage definitely has led to the decline in social skills and social interactions with and between people who use them the most. When texting and calling on the phone constantly, face to face contact has been limited so much and leads to the increase in terrible social skills. Without having to make conversation and practice conversation young people are less socially active and lack the skills they need to prosper into adulthood. Eye contact is another issue that seems to be lacking because of the use of smartphones. The constant talking without face to face contact makes the need to make eye contact minimally important. This is extremely problematic because eye contact is very important in making connections, holding conversations, and showing respect to others.
Also, the decline of social skills that is due to the problematic use of smartphones is related to the miscommunications that can happen. When texting and emailing, social cues, speaking inflections, and intent are never clear. It is also difficult to tell if someone is joking or being serious when only texting. Miscommunications can happen so easily and lead to misunderstandings. If people would talk in person more or even over the phone there would be less incidents like these and communication would be clearer and more concise.
Depression and anxiety also have a close correlation to the problematic and general use of smartphones. In a time where everyone’s lives are put online and seen through social media, it is easy to get caught up in it all. With immense cell phone use, this is heightened. The almost obsessive nature that smartphones and social media promote makes it seem like everyone’s “perfect” social media presence can lead to people feeling left out and comparing themselves to others. As seen in the primary article, “depression severity was significantly associated with problematic or general smartphone use [and] anxiety was significantly associated with smartphone addiction/use” (1). An article found on anxiety.org had the same view on the correlation between problematic smartphone use with depression and anxiety. The article states that “the researchers found that smartphone use was in fact associated with the symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as increased experience of stress” (4). Both the primary article and the article from anxiety.org show how depression and anxiety are definitely directly related to problematic smartphone use.
In conclusion, after consulting the primary source article and additional sources found, the negative effects of smartphone use were completely evident. I agree with the findings in the article, “Problematic smartphone use: A conceptual overview and systematic review of relations with anxiety and depression psychopathology” and do see clearly that the excessive use of smartphones leads to anxiety and depression among many other negative consequences. Many of these consequences are related to personal health, social wellbeing, and dangers of addiction to smartphones.
Most shocking of all the finding in the primary article was found in discussions where is was stated that “problematic and general smart- phone use commonly co-occur with the mental disorder constructs of depression, anxiety, and also with stress. We found depression severity to be consistently, significantly linked with smartphone addiction” (1). The world has become a much more advanced and connected place since smartphones were introduced in 2007, but as much as these devices are useful, the drawbacks clearly outweigh the advantages.